RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The next time you drive in Raleigh, you might want to double-check the speed limit.
In 2021, the city has changed the speed limit to 25 mph on 114 roads, with plans to switch more speed limits in the near future.
The city said it is part of an effort to improve safety. According to numbers released this week by Raleigh Police Chief Estella Patterson, the city has seen 39 deadly crashes in 2021. That’s an increase from 33 a year ago.
In many cases, Patterson reported, speed was a factor.
Over the course of the year, the city council has been approving speed limit changes on certain roads where residents have raised concerns. City council member David Knight said there have been three times as many changes compared to 2020, and he believes these are important changes.
“We’re becoming a bigger city with more growth, and folks are more concerned about traffic safety than ever before,” Knight said. He anticipates the changes will continue well into 2022.
“The police can’t catch everybody,” he said. “We can’t just do temporary things. We need to do permanent things.”
Solomon Cornish lives in an area where the city reduced the speed limit on several roads. He’s seen problems in the past on East Lenoir Street in front of his house.
“They see this big straightaway and they floor it,” he said. “It’s nice that they changed the speed limits, but they’re really going to have to do a good job enforcing it.”
Shawn Watson knows the dangers speed can pose all too well.
Back in July, a car plowed into the patio furniture at his Five Points restaurant, Lily’s Pizza, along Glenwood Avenue. The car ended up crashing into an art gallery two doors down.
Watson estimates the damage to his business was $10,000.
And in the wake of the crash, he has not noticed significant changes on Glenwood Avenue in front of his restaurant.
“There’ still a good number of speeders that come through here,” he said.
According to Knight, changes to Glenwood Avenue in Five Points are being looked at as part of a larger study, and will ultimately need state approval. Surrounding roads, he said, generally have 25 mph speed limits.
That includes nearby Breeze Drive, where Tom Segars supported reducing the speed limit earlier this year, with a caveat.
“I didn’t perceive (speed) as a big problem,” he said. “I’m always glad to have them slow the traffic down, there are a lot of children in the neighborhood.”
Council will consider speed limit reductions to eight additional streets Dec. 7.